It’s commonly accepted in the alarm industry, and among law enforcement professionals as well, that the great majority of residential crimes are random, opportunistic acts. In other words, your average burglary is not the result of careful planning and split-second execution, like the heists one sees in the movies or on TV. What’s much more likely is that someone already on the wrong side of the law needs money to buy drugs, and goes out looking for a likely target to rip off. But then, there are the exceptions – like in Dalworthington Gardens, an affluent suburb between Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas.
The discovery of a hidden camera may help solve a series of break-ins at upscale homes in several North Texas cities. “This one has already been camouflaged,” said detective Ben Singleton, holding what looks like a piece of bark that would go unnoticed in most yards. It’s actually a video camera not much bigger than a matchbox, and it’s activated by a motion detector. Such cameras turned up in March planted outside several upscale homes in Dalworthington Gardens.
Whoa, there… a burglar using a small outdoor camera to track the schedules of homeowners prior to breaking in? Now this really is one for the books! In over twenty years in the business, I have never heard of a real burglar being this enterprising – or clever. And I’m not alone.
Police are Surprised, Too
“I’ve never seen anything like this. And most detectives in this area haven’t,” Singleton said. Earlier this month, John Anton discovered the first one near his driveway. “I had no idea what it was,” Anton said. “Very strange.” He took the device to Dalworthington Gardens police. “We tore one of these apart to figure out what it was all about,” Singleton said. The detective said it turned out to be surveillance for a long-running, sophisticated burglary scheme.
The Stake Out
But at first, police feared it might even be a kidnapping plot to take a wealthy person captive. Police set up counter-surveillance. They were waiting the next night on Wooded Creek Circle when a man returned to pick up the camera. “It’s very scary,” Anton said. “Something where you feel very violated.” Anton’s wife and daughter stayed away from the home. John Anton said he stayed inside with a shotgun while police staked out the street.
What Happened Next
Shortly after midnight, they caught 21-year-old Cain Santoyo. Search warrants on his car and Grand Prairie home revealed evidence including lock-picking tools, police scanners, a disguise, a combination flashlight/stun gun, and a total of nine cameras loaded with surveillance video. Officers also seized computer data and a motion detector rigged to a small radio transmitter. Singleton said that could be used to alert a burglar inside a house, giving them time to get away.
Locating the Loot
Inside Santoyo’s house, police said they found jewelry hidden in an attic crawlspace. “He had a large bag that was stuffed full of jewelry,” Singleton said. Detectives believe Cain Santoyo targeted million dollar homes in Highland Park, Colleyville, Arlington and Grand Prairie. But they think that almost everything that was stolen has already been sold on the Internet. Police expect multiple burglary charges to be filed. For now, Santoyo is held on a charge of unlawful interception, use, or disclosure of wire, oral or electronic communications.
Frankly, we’re glad that FrontPoint’s position on the relative rarity of smarter-than-average burglars holds true. We don’t want intruders to be this crafty, since they might be more successful, and harder to catch. But one thing is for sure: you are still better off with a monitored alarm system in your home. In fact, according to the Rutgers University, you are three times better off.
FrontPoint is proud to be your source for all topics related to wireless home security and home automation. We specialize in systems that are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. As the leader in wireless home security and the #1 rated alarm company in the US, wetakes residential intrusion very seriously: so, if you are looking for a company you can trust to provide the best peace of mind for your home, think FrontPoint. We’ll be keeping our eye on the bad guys, and doing our best to keep them out of your neighborhood.